Updated: Apr 12
**HISTORY TO KNOW - Meridian, Mississippi's very own M&B 116 and The King himself, Elvis Presley.
Okay, Friends of the 116 -- we know you need a little pick me up after the week of ice, falling pine trees and snow that we have had. So, we thought of no better way to melt off the ice by Elvis Presley leaning on Meridian's remaining steam engine.
'Bill Bruner and Elvis Presley posing at the memorial in Rodger's Park." May 25th, 1955.
With city-wide decorations hung in place, the 3rd annual Jimmie Rodgers Day was underway. The day began with a BBQ for 20,000 at Highland Park and was staged by 'trainmen' and sponsored by Meridian Labor Relations Council. The BBQ was then followed by a memorial service at Rodger's Park (this would be the original location of the M&B 116 off of HWY 80 -- it now sits in Highland Park) where a wreath was placed in honour of Jimmie Rodgers. The night continued on around 9pm with dances at 5 different locations around Meridian. Hank Snow headlined a show at the Officer's Club at Key Field while Elvis, Scotty and Bill performed at the American Legion Hall. The following day (May 26th) Elvis Presley, Bill, Scotty and Jimmie Rodgers Snow rode down the streets of Meridian Downtown on Elvis's infamous Pink Cadillac. According to Billboard, it was one of the largest and most colorful parades Meridian has ever seen. Later that evening Elvis performed at a concert held at Ray Stadium where he was reportedly called back on stage for several encores.
A September 1955 article of Country Song Roundup stated that 'Elvis was called back for encore after encore, singing such tunes as "Milk Cow Blues Boogie", "You're a Heartbreaker" and his latest pairing: "I'm Left You're Right, She's gone" and "Baby, Let's Play House". There's no doubt about it, this youngster is a real "Folk Music Fireball".